We’re back in the current time, with the plot having resumed immediately where it left off after episode four (since episode five was the flashback to Vanessa’s back-story), and Sir Malcolm and Vanessa are arguing about her ability to find out additional information regarding their supernatural foes. She decides to read tarot cards to get information, which only results in a painting screaming at her and a vague impression of something bad having happened on a ship. Ethan, meanwhile, does the walk of shame home to Brona after his tryst with Dorian.  She apologizes to him for running off from their theater date, and he leaves out some key details of his evening before pledging his undying love to her. Ethan’s not the only one with apologies at hand.  Dorian turns up on Sir Malcolm … Continued

Penny Dreadful, Episode Five

Episode five of Penny Dreadful deviates from the format of the show to date, focusing solely on Vanessa as she composes a letter to the still missing Mina.  Her internal monologue is, as far as we can tell, the text of the letter, in which she tells Mina a whole bunch of things she already mostly knows. Even so, Vanessa writes in hopes that one day Mina will write back and things can be as they were. While Mina, upon receipt of this letter, might be bored, the audience learns all sorts of new things.  We discover that as children, Mina and Vanessa are best friends and neighbors.  Mina is the weaker of the pair – a word in this case defined by being more timid and lacking Vanessa’s exceptional skills at taxidermy. One night, … Continued

Penny Dreadful, Episode Four

We open on an Eyes Wide Shut-worthy party; it’s apparently Tuesday for Dorian Grey and he’s very bored watching lots of people of every gender and combination have a great deal of sex while he lounges about with a pretty man beside him and a woman at his feet.  After the party we see Dorian enter a secret hallway lined with mirrors before passing into the private chamber that contains his portrait.  We don’t see the painting, but it’s clearly the only thing capable of holding his attention. After Dorian’s orgy, it’s on to a church, where a little girl questions whether Vanessa about whether she likes churches and is intending to go inside.  After some small-talk in which Vanessa confesses she is single, the little girl turns totally creepy and says, “We put mother … Continued

Penny Dreadful, Episode Three

For the holiday weekend, Penny Dreadful gives us a massive info dump about life, death, love and responsibility. We open on young Victor’s discovery that death is not serene. In the face of the death of his dog.  His mother suggests that death is perhaps something else, a type of movement, and it is an ominous foreshadowing of both his passions and the fate of Proteus at the hands of The Creature.  Even so, it’s a sweet moment until she begins to cough blood all over him because everyone on this show has consumption.   She dies.  Victor begins his studies. The Creature also seeks to provide his origin story. He tells of being born in pain and terror.  When he was not the idyllic child Victor had imagined, Victor abandons him in terror nearly immediately.  … Continued


Despite being entirely free of spiders, the second episode of Penny Dreadful dials up the weird and the symbolic. The possible relationship permutations develop significantly. We open with a shivering prostitute sitting on a bench in the dark.  She unwraps an apple to eat, examining the newspaper it was wrapped in which reports on the possible return of the Ripper.  She becomes frightened as she hears the approach of a man, but it seems he is only a lamplighter, although he chooses not to light the lamp over where she sits – it seems she is already in darkness.  Soon, she is attacked and her arm with the apple still in its hand is torn off.  This is our fair warning that this episode is all about temptation and leaving the Garden. Post-credits, Ethan wakes … Continued

Penny Dreadful, Series Premiere

Lots of heavy breathing noises and unseen evils make the opening sequence of Penny Dreadful – the murder of a mother and her young daughter — traditional startle horror, but everything that happens afterwards is a weirdly modern fusion of all the classics. Set in Victorian London in 1891, Penny Dreadful introduces us to Vanessa Ives (Eva Green), a reserved woman with a habit of summoning spiders and/or visions when she prays. Lightening the mood, at least initially, is Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett). Ethan is a gunslinger in every sense of the word, showing off his formidable shooting skills in his first scene before demonstrating his less metaphorical talents with some athletic sex up against the side of a circus wagon.  Ethan’s a dream romance hero if you like them callous, charming and needing to … Continued